When You Are Short on Time or Energy (or Both), Just Read to Your Kids
Although most parents know that reading aloud is important, many don't do it. A recent study conducted by the literacy nonprofit Reading Is Fundamental found that only one-third of parents read to their kids every night. But for babies and young children, reading fosters an emotional bond with their caregivers and helps them to develop language skills. Even as your children learn to read on their own, it's important to continue reading aloud to them, since hearing the words strengthens a child's comprehension. And if you can get your kids to consider reading as fun, you can help give them an academic boost. British researchers followed about 6,000 children beginning in 1970 and found that those who read for pleasure scored higher not only in vocabulary and spelling but also in math. "You want your children to read good literature, including nonfiction," says Kathy Barclay, a professor of early childhood and reading at Western Illinois University, in Macomb. But don't panic if your youngster is plowing through a series based on a television show. "There's nothing wrong with whatever superhero your child is hooked on. Quantity makes the big difference," says Barclay.